Peppers: Others have complained that Thanissaro does not teach that the mind is eternal, but that consciousness is outside of all time, or that he does not teach that there a soul or an atman, but that there is an unchanging pure consciousness. This is just pointless quibbling over terms, and I’m not interested in it. The Advaita Vedanta definition of atman is that it is a consciousness that transcends time and space, and is unchanging and uncreated. Thanissaro Bhikkhu very clearly, and very often, explains that this is what he believes to exist.
"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"
"On the western wall, lord."
"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"
"On the ground, lord."
"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"
"On the water, lord."
"And if there is no water, where does it land?"
"It does not land, lord."
"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form. Where there is no alighting of name-&-form, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."
"If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no base for consciousness. Consciousness, thus unestablished, not proliferating, not performing any function, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
chownah wrote:Sounds like Pepper has formulated a doctrine of self....isn't this a big Buddhist no-no?
mal4mac wrote:chownah wrote:Sounds like Pepper has formulated a doctrine of self....isn't this a big Buddhist no-no?
I think it's a doctrine on the *eternal* self that's a big no-no.
Pepper doesn't accept the dualistic belief in an eternal self.
His “self” that is "produced by the social formation and the biological body" is not an eternal self, just the everyday self that we encounter in common-sense experience (I think!).
I want to briefly illustrate, for those who will no doubt object, that Thanissaro Bhikkhu does, in fact, explicitly believe in the eternal, dualist, atta or atman. Unlike so many other Buddhist teachers, who deny such belief but then assume the existence of a subtle atman, he is clear on this point. In his essay “No-self or Not-self?” he makes it clear that his understanding of the teaching of anatta is that there is, in fact, an eternal soul, but that nothing that is part of our time-space continuum is part of that soul, and so we must learn not to be attached to anything in this samsaric world.
"All of the techniques and strategies taught by the Buddha in the area
of meditation are means for developing the heart so that it will be
suited to transcending the realm of conventional reality and reaching
outer space: nibbana.
What is it like, the outer space of the Dhamma? They no longer doubt
...about whether the outer space of the world exists or not. The things
that lie within conventional reality are known to exist. Outer space
beyond our atmosphere is another level of conventional reality. Outer
space: What is it like? Does it exist? How does our world in the
atmosphere differ from the things outside the world of our atmosphere
called outer space? Both of these levels exist.
The mind that lies in the realm of conventional reality (sammuti) — surrounded
and controlled — is like the various objects in the world trapped by the
pull of gravity at all times. The mind is trapped by the pull of
defilement in just the same way. It can't escape, which is why it must
develop its strength to escape from the world of this gravitational
pull. ... The outer space of the mind released from all forms of gravitational
pull, i.e., conventional reality: What is it like? Even though we've
never known it before, when we come to know it, we won't have any
doubts. This is what we referred to at the beginning when we talked about the
outer space of the world and the outer space of the mind. The outer
space of the mind — the mind of nibbana — is like that. Just
where is it annihilated? Who experiences the outer space of the mind? If
it were annihilation, who could experience it? As for where it will
or won't be reborn, we already know that there's no way for it to be
reborn. We know this clearly. We've removed every defilement or
conventional reality that would lead to rebirth."
-- Ajaan Maha Boowa Nyanasampanno
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... html#space
Whatever problems arise, they arise right
here. “Is death followed by rebirth? By annihi-
lation? Is there a next world? Does hell exist?
Does heaven? Does evil exist? Does merit?” Ev-
erywhere I go, there’s the same question: “Do
heaven and hell exist?” I never feel like answer-
ing. I don’t see any reason to answer it, because
that which is burdened with heaven and hell
is the heart, which everyone already has. So
why waste time answering? After all, I’m not a
record-keeper for heaven and hell! Living
beings are reborn in various realms of existence through the power
of the good and bad kamma within the heart. The heart
itself is what’s reborn into those realms. If we don’t solve the
problem right in the heart, we’ll never be able to escape the bonfires
of suffering and anxiety.
-- Luangta Maha Boowa, "Samana"
Sam Vara wrote:I (re-)read Ajahn Thanissaro's little essay... but can't find anything that would support the view that Thanissaro believes in an eternal soul.
daverupa wrote:Sam Vara wrote:I (re-)read Ajahn Thanissaro's little essay... but can't find anything that would support the view that Thanissaro believes in an eternal soul.
That might be due to not having Pepper's ax to grind, but I can only surmise.
Sam Vara wrote:I was surprised however to see Pepper being so categorical in his accusation on the basis of this very short essay.
Others, including Peter Harvey and Thanissaro Bhikkhu, have also advocated the existence of unconditioned consciousness in nibbana. They identify instances in the Pali Canon in which the Buddha asserts the existence of such consciousness, such as in the following passage from the Brahmanimantanika Sutta:
Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around... (MN 49, trans. Thanissaro, 2007)
As argued by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, this consciousness does not refer to the conditioned vinnana khandha, but to unconditioned existence beyond space and time. In this sense, it is eternal, as it is not conditioned by time. This supposes a dualism between conditioned phenomena and this unconditioned consiousness.
socratessmith wrote:There is abundant evidence that Geoff believes in a soul-like entity. The Buddha-figure in the texts did, too. If you don't see that, it's because you don't want to.
Socratessmith: Contemporary American Buddhist discourse does not demand much from you intellectually. Still, I hope you will find a way to hone your thinking abilities and free yourself from the robe-wearing Bhikkhus of Oz such as Geoffrey DeGraff.
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